|Aces At The Races Seldom Lose When Played Correctly|
Learning at the Table, LAG's, TAG's, Fish, and Lies
$1 - $3, Nine Players with one or two mostly missing.
I had a Lag two seats to my left and a second Lag three seats to his left. Having Lags competing to out Lag each other makes for a difficult game. I also had a player on my right, who smelled a little green, but acted confident in his play. I soon learned in his situation, you don't know what you don't know. The rest were apparently normal Players.
The Lag on my left took a break, so the table slowed down to only one active Lag. I was dealt AA in the Small Blind. Early position raised (go baby go). Lag two decided to take a chip inventory and decided he could fold this round. It was Raise, Call, Call and I Called, with a few folds mixed in.
Flop came out blanks. Raiser bet, folded to me and I called. Rinse and repeat on Turn and River. I turned over my AA, and other player mucked face down. Player on my right, looking for a free Poker Coach, asks me, "Why did you play Aces so softly?" This was a $15 question I thought. Of course I lied and told him, "I could not put the other player on a hand".
Hands later I am dealt 76o in late position, and I call a min-raise with a few other players. Flop is 4, 5, X. Checked to a Middle Position Player who bets $25.00. I call, rest fold, it is Heads Up.
Turn is the money card, an 8. I made my Straight. Middle Position bets out $50.00. He has about $85 behind. I glanced at him and he is ready to scoop, almost salivating. I put him on a set. No idea what he thinks I have, but he is quite sure, it is less than he holds. After a responsible pause, I announce, "Raise $100", to put him all in.
Doubt creases appear in his forehead, and he ponders and ponders with a few squirms thrown in for good measure, Finally he Folds and gives the Player on his right a speech about why he folded and why I called Pre-Flop?? It must have been a coded speech because it made no sense to me, and made no mention of what he thought I had, other than the possibility of Air, which I found curious because he did fold after all.
As I am stacking my chips, Player on my right, asks, "Why did you play like that? You could have called and taken all his chips on the River." I am thinking this is a $30.00 question, but he seems to be fairly green as a player, and I don't mind spewing another lie. "I did not want to see a River Card. I could be put in a bad spot."
My lie was a good stock answer, but not the truth. I'm not his Daddy and I am not his Poker Coach or Buddy. He repeated, he thought I should have called the Turn and taken all the money on the river. I let his comment float off into the sunset.
I do not know how you play Poker. I don't know if you play consistently, or change it up every round. I don't know if you are Lag, Tag, or Dangerous. I do know most of the players I have been playing with have one basic style, and they stick with it. It seems to work for them, because they play consistently, session to session.
I told my two lies to the player on my right. I try to tell lies to the table as well through my play. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt are powerful weapons. Keep Players guessing and they have a harder time thinking. Why did he check? What did that call mean, is that raise a bluff or the Nuts? Makes it harder for them to play their game when they are bogged down arranging ideas and possibilities of other Players action.
Remember when you saw that hand where the quiet player suddenly check raises the Turn against the field? How about the hand where the player shows Air after a tough player mucks the River? That is the type of Poker I enjoy watching. And the Poker I want to play. Watching them play is being in the front row, watching a command performance on the poker table, for free. The Winner bides His/Her time, until the right situation presented, then confidently charges and scoops.
When you get good cards, you play good cards. Almost anyone can play big pairs correctly - until they did not pay attention to the story the Winning Player has been telling. It takes time to get comfortable and move beyond, what you hold in your hand playing style to, are they consistent in how they play, to what does His/Her action mean?
Every time I play, there are always Players better than I am on the table. I mostly stay out of there way, but I follow their play and try to learn. Hopefully, I am not in many hands with them. Like the two competing Lags in my first hand above, why play against a Lag? Lags rarely see a hand that does not have potential. Lags often win by accurate target selection and effective barreling. What kind of story can you tell a good player or a Lag? I think this would be difficult as they are good at what they do. Some Lags that are play all day, almost every day are in the moment very good at what they do.
I used to read twoplustwo posts with the poster claiming they are seen as a Tag (Tight Aggressive Player). I always found that statement humorous. First of all, I doubt anyone thought all that much about their play until this hand. Finally, why are they questioning or lost in their play if they are a Strong Tag? Drop it down a notch or two and be honest with yourself about your ability.
I would rather be seen on the table as an incompetent idiot who wins in spite of his poor play. I also will not be asking Players next to me why they played a hand the way they did. That is what Poker Coaches, Books, and Forums are for. If you ask me why, I will probably lie to you. The next time you watch someone play in manner that makes no sense, pay closer attention to their play. You can only hide so much. For me, I will be silently watching and thinking about what I see.